Daniel Tomlinson
Labour market
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Quality and security
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Intergenerational Centre

Act now or shrink later: trade unions and the generational challenge

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Union membership to fall below one in five employees by 2030 unless current trends reversed The future should be full of potential for trade unions. Four in five people in Great Britain think that trade unions are “essential” to protect workers’ interests. Public concerns about low pay have soared to record levels over recent years. And, … Continued

Living standards
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Productivity & industrial strategy
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Economic growth

Who will reap the gains of the recovery?

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Poor productivity is only one part of the post-millennial wage disappointment story The productivity crisis of the last few years is far from over but economic recovery is now well-established and there are at least a few flickers of life in the official data on output per hour. The widely shared assumption, often unspoken, is … Continued

Raising low pay is welcome. But we should still fear the forces hurting family incomes

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George Osborne’s audacious unveiling of what he termed the “national living wage” dominated the budget coverage and succeeded in delighting, outraging and confusing in almost equal measure. Low-pay campaigners were certainly buoyed, just as some business leaders were appalled at what they viewed as a Milibandesque intrusion into pay-setting. Many others were left puzzling over … Continued

Budgets & fiscal events
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Minimum wage
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Welfare

Will wages fill the tax credit gap? Don’t Budget for it

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Recent high-profile converts are bringing headlines and new vim to the debate on working poverty. Good. But with this comes a cacophony of confusion about the National Minimum Wage (NMW), Living Wage, the role of tax credits and the likelihood that a recovery in earnings will compensate for cuts to in-work support. And this risks … Continued

Living standards
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Labour market
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Globalisation

The View That Britain Should Be Learning Lessons From the US Labour Market Is Long Past Its Sell-By Date

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Political debates about key policy challenges often tend to idealise – and bastardise – the experience of other countries. Whether it is Finnish schools, Swedish childcare, German vocational training, Danish ‘flexicurity’, Israeli entrepreneurship or Dutch pensions, there are places that we are supposed to look to for inspiration. Usually these views are rooted in some … Continued

Budgets & fiscal events
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Public spending
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Economy and public finances

How much wriggle room will the Chancellor have in the July Budget?

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After the flow of easy pre-election promises, here come the hard choices of government. As George Osborne approaches his ‘emergency Budget’ attention will turn to what room for manoeuvre he really has given all the commitments that have been made. How will it all add up and is there a version of austerity that might … Continued

Living standards
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Public spending
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Scotland

The SNP and austerity: how different are they to the other parties?

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Nicola Sturgeon gave a widely trailed speech in London earlier this week majoring on the SNP’s opposition to what she said was a ‘cosy consensus’ in Westminster on austerity. In providing a few new bits of information on the SNP’s view on public spending it helped fit another piece in the jigsaw that is the … Continued

Living standards
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Social mobility

Stuck or just passing through: how can policy-makers improve social mobility?

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One of the recurring fixtures of British political life is a bout of soul-searching about social mobility. Depending on the point of view of the pundit, this tends to involve a nostalgic backward glance to an era when things were supposedly better (cue unevidenced claims about the mobility-boosting virtues of grammar schools) or, less commonly, … Continued

Pay

Why hasn’t 2014 been the year of the pay rise?

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Next month we will be treated to the familiar spate of end of year reviews. Amid all that copy we can expect a regular theme to be that this was (another) year in which all the forecasts of a rise in earnings for workers were proved wrong. Inaccurate economic forecasts, especially when it comes to … Continued

Living standards
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Political parties and elections

What’s in store for the 2015 victor: winner’s curse or a steady recovery?

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One of the laziest lines in politics is that there are good elections to lose: five years in opposition are rarely rewarding. But it’s certainly true that there are less attractive elections to win and for many 2015 falls into this category. As others have said: beware of the winner’s curse. This pessimism is increasingly … Continued

Pay
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Minimum wage

Where next for the minimum wage?

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Today marks the first real terms rise in the minimum wage in six years. It speaks volumes about the convulsions in our labour market that something that was once taken completely for granted is now viewed as a significant and welcome departure. And the rise occurs at a time when there is something of a competitive … Continued

Household debt
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Monetary policy
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Macroeconomic policy

Once interest rates start rising, how can indebted households be helped through the painful transition?

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Whether it is this autumn, the New Year or shortly after next May’s election, everyone knows that interest rates are going to start rising sometime relatively soon. Yet despite the endless “guess the month” speculation about the precise timing of the first rise, little thought has actually been given to the bigger and longer-term question … Continued

Jobs
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Labour market
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Quality and security

By omitting the earnings of one in seven workers from jobs data, our economic policymakers are operating in the dark

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Whether you view the self-employed as the silent victims of our invidious jobs market or emblems of a new spirit of entrepreneurialism spreading through society, what is beyond doubt is that the ranks of those working for themselves are swelling by the day. The numbers have grown by a staggering 700,000 since the financial crisis. … Continued

Will the welfare cap stand the test of time?

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George Osborne’s welfare cap will be voted on tomorrow. It’s viewed by many as a moment of reckoning for Labour in which it will be caught in a deadly trap: support eye-wateringly tight and binding proposals that threaten the future of the welfare state or oppose them and stand exposed as the believers in big … Continued

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